Tablet shipments will near 250 million in 2017, a new report from market research firm In-Stat claims. Apple's iPad and Google Android tablet devices will reportedly account for more than 90 percent of market, helped by the availability of software and content from publishing partners, while Windows will come in a distant third.

Though we can't vouch for the accuracy of the report, it's clear that there is a lot of interest in the market.

Earlier this year, DigiTimes estimated iPad shipments would reach between 35 million and 36 million this year, up from 17million in 2010, while a more recent report citing investment analyst Jason Schwarz says Apple could sell as many as 22 million tablets in this year's holiday quarter alone. Meanwhile, Android tablet shipments could hit 19 to 20 million in 2011.

Considering tablet sales were essentially zero in 2009 that's quite an accomplishment from both iOS and Android camps. Ironically, the latest sign of consumers' growing interest in this form factor came from HP's ill-fated TouchPad.

Shortly after the company announced it would be dropping its operations for webOS devices and discounted the TouchPad to $100 (16GB) or $150 (32GB), people were snapping them as fast as they could and stock has already run dry at many retailers. One may argue that the deal was too good to pass on, and it probably was, but it's still a bit curious considering that right now the platform is not going to be a priority for app developers or even HP for that matter.

Besides platform choice, In-Stat also pointed to users' preference of large displays, claiming that by 2017 tablets with displays ranging in size from 9 inches to 11 inches will own 56 percent of the market.